Vote to remove Householder as Antioch School Board president on Wednesday night’s meeting agenda

Antioch School Board Trustee Mary Rocha and President Ellie Householder. Photos: AUSD

Requested by Trustee Rocha before last Thursday’s special meeting; won’t be their first clash; Services Agreement with private security firm Strategic Threat Management also on the agenda

By Allen Payton

Antioch School Board Trustee Mary Rocha has requested a vote of the board to remove current president Ellie Householder during their regular meeting, tomorrow night, Wednesday, Sept. 8.

It follows the posting of a video of a police incident with a violent student at Antioch High School by Householder, prior to obtaining the details, and then her calling a special board meeting, originally to investigate the incident, last Thursday night, during which nothing was accomplished since both agenda items were tabled for up to 60 days. (See related articles, here, here and here)

The matter is item 10.E. under “Items for Information/Discussion/Action by Board”. (See complete meeting agenda)

“I requested it before last Thursday’s meeting,” Rocha said when reached for comment. “I was surprised how many calls came in calling for her removal.”

“Since Ellie became president, she has included (Area 4 Trustee Dr. Clyde) Lewis, as board vice president, in her meetings with the superintendent about each meeting agenda,” Rocha continued. “So, as a courtesy, I called Lewis and left him a voicemail message to let him know that it would be on tomorrow night’s agenda.”

When reached for comment Lewis confirmed that he attends agenda meetings and that he received Rocha’s message writing, “Yes, I’m in agenda meetings. But if there are other meetings, I’m not aware of them” and “Yes” in response to the second question.

Householder’s one-year, rotated term as board president ends in December and it is expected that Lewis, who is currently the board vice president, will be the next president. But that line of succession has not always occurred, as past boards have bypassed the vice president and voted in another trustee as president.

Rocha and Householder Have Clashed Before

This won’t be the first time that Rocha and Householder will have clashed. Rocha challenged her fellow trustee after Householder had posted some negative comments about Rocha on Twitter, in support of the protesters who broke into the school district headquarters during a board meeting, which was closed to just the trustees and staff due to COVID. Rocha was almost pushed to the ground. In response to that and Householder’s participation in a protest at then-Mayor Pro Tem Joy Motts’ home, Rocha attempted to have Householder removed from the School-City Standing Committee but it failed on a 1-4 vote.  (See related articles, here and here)

An effort to reach Householder for comment was unsuccessful prior to publication time.

In addition, during the meeting, the Services Agreement with Strategic Threat Management, Inc., whose security guards were involved in the Antioch High incident and could be seen in the video restraining the student, is on the consent calendar. That could prove to be a lengthy discussion.

UPDATE: Succession and Replacement Process

Superintendent Stephanie Anello was asked, since there is no election item on the agenda, “if Ellie is removed as board president, tonight who becomes board president to at least run the rest of the meeting? Does Clyde automatically become acting board president and will the election for a permanent board president for the remainder of the year be held at the next meeting?

Anello responded, “I believe it would fall to the vice president to run the rest of tonight’s meeting. An item would need to be placed on the next agenda to elect a new president.”

Meeting Viewing and Public Comment Information

The meeting will be livestreamed and can be viewed at https://youtu.be/F-Dsas_w-s0. Persons wishing to make a general public comment or a comment on items on the agenda can submit their comments until 4:00 p.m. on the day of the meeting. Comments can be submitted via an online form at https://tinyurl.com/ausd-public-comment-card or by email to kelliecavallaro@antiochschools.net. Comments received by 4:00 p.m. will be read to the public during the meeting.

Please check back later for any updates to this report.

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Mary Rocha & Ellie Householder


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